Category Archives: Family Relationships

A Life-Worth of Loving

Life is so short.

I was recently blessed to spend 20 minutes with a complete stranger…an 81 year old woman who stopped to shop at our garage sale.

 Taking her purchases to her car, she walked slowly, bent over from osteoporosis but still full of life and so much wisdom. We continued talking out in the road by her car for about 20 minutes, and I was honored to be shown pictures of her family!

Proudly and with love she told of her children, their spouses, and grandchildren, all of who have faced varying degrees and difficulties in life. Each obviously held different values, priorities, and goals but were still loved unconditionally by this sweet lady. She was now alone, after being married to her husband for 61 years, but not alone because her family was still family.

I find myself wishing to be her. Hoping that as time goes by, our family will be strong, feel loved, and free of divisive trials.

Time is short.

We are all imperfect….especially me, but I love them all, and hope that love will be returned just as strong when I am 81.

It became obvious to me that this precious lady had committed to live her life, loving

Not just loving life itself, but living to love…each day, each moment, each family member…through trials and adversity, through good times and bad, through hardships and pain.  Making a concentrated effort to let loved ones know she cares.  Purposefully looking for the “little things” that need attention as well as the big things.  She has pushed through all those things and is coming out on the “other side” happy and in receipt of the fruit of her many years. 

To “Live Loving” is what it takes. 

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To my children, their spouses, my grandchildren, and friends…you are a gift I gratefully receive. I will try not to judge, burden, misunderstand, etc as we proceed through this one life together. Yet when I fail (as I often do), know that your forgiveness and love is appreciated and cherished just as much. Starting over and given the chance to “Live Loving” again will plant a legacy no one can destroy. Thank you for that chance, each time it’s needed.

We are going to “Love Living” through each generation of 81 year old men and women! 

“…but the greatest of these is love.”  1 Corinthians 13:13

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Filed under Attitude, Blessings, Children, Family, Family Relationships, Friends, Gifts, God, Joy, Life, Love, Parenting, Trials, Wisdom

Confession is good for the soul

Today I read Proverbs 28.  It said in verse 13, “He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.”  The Lord began pointing out the need for confession so I decided to make it a day of confession. ..even wrote down all some of my shortcomings as the day progressed.

As a nice hot shower cleanses the body, so does a time of confession does for the soul.  It’s nice to look clean, AND smell clean!  I only smell that way, however, because I am bathed with the breath of Jesus.  His love and sacrifice became the mercy I needed for such a day as this. 

Because I try to be transparent, I don’t mind sharing my list with you.  This is me…the good and bad, loved and full of mercy, before God our Creator, as I am.  For those of you who might think I am always “rosey”, well…..let’s just say the Lord isn’t finished with me yet! 

Lord, help me to spend more time loving and caring for my husband!  I have been selfish, have given into depression at times, and allow worry and anxieties to fill my day.  I have been financially irresponsible lately, allowing the accumulation of some credit card debt for things we really didn’t need.  I enjoy eating a little too much!  Gluttony is sinful, and I should take better care of my “temple”. 

With worries and doubts and anxieties come lack of self control at times when I should be more focused.  Lack of motivation to be productive, keeping walking “forward”, and manage my household duties has been a problem at times. 

I have not stayed “in Him”.  I need more of His Word daily. 

My children suffer when I am down and depressed.  I sometimes only give them 1/2 of me…..1/2 of my attention, 1/2 of my best teaching during school, 1/2 of the love they need and deserve.

Sometimes I just. do. not. care.  I give in to bad times, bad days, and just don’t try. 

Drudgery of the “same old, same old” enters my mind as I rise in the morning, and again when I finally go to bed at night.

This week, I brought our dog indoors against my husband’s wishes!  I cook too much chicken and fish when the Hubby wants beef!  (Poor guy…..he just wants a steak, lol)

Lord help me to not give into despair.  Help me to give the anguish and hurt of the lack of some family relationships to You.

I need to better guard the eyes of my children.  Prime time television does not innocence make!  What enters our home through feet or through wires should meet godly standards.  Our children know when we make godly choices and when we don’t.  There used to be a day not so long ago, that I stood firmly against watching “Nemo” because one of the main character voices was from an openly homosexual lifestyle.  Lately, I have caught myself inwardly justifying watching a prime television show that is promoting the same thing.  What a hypocrite I am at times?!

I still struggle with letting “busy-ness” take over priorities.

Although I try to live in honesty and as much righteousness as possible, I need forgiveness for thinking I don’t have much to confess….even unintentional sin is sin.

I forgot to pray before lunch today.

…and the list will most likely go on and on.

Yes, I am low sometimes….a dirty, rotten, scoundrel as might be described in our western world.  I try to be good, but the “good that I would do, that I do not”! 

What is important, though, is that I am ABLE to confess, and I know the Lord HEARS and ANSWERS!  The next step is to “forsake” the sins I have confessed.  It is a struggle…..day to day, hour by hour, minute by minute….because of my weak flesh. 

Thankfully the Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, and rich in love!  I am wretched, but He is WORTHY of all praise. 

I write this to you with love, and while experiencing the forgiveness of God.  It feels good!  Now I look forward to starting tomorrow clean and fresh!   When is the last time you took time to confess and forsake?  God is waiting …..

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Filed under Commitment, Confession, Faith, Family Relationships, God, Grace, Homeschool, homeschooling, Jesus, Love, Marriage, Mercy, Priorities, Sin

Life’s Work – Is it Working? (Part 2)

Continuing from the last “Life’s Work – Is It Working?” post, I want to explore the “norm”.  What is the normal, average, Christian family unit in America today?  What are the “normal” goals for families in this century?  What do we, as a whole, teach our children?  What should be their goal and steps into adulthood once they reach “the” age?  What exactly is “the age” that kids morph into adulthood?

The answers to all these questions, unchallenged, seem to be unstated – a “given” answer that we all “just know”…

As good parents, we teach them wrong from right, expect them to behave, give them vision for a future, an education to see them through, and it all has to be done by the time they’re 18! (?)

 We think that the “magic number” of 18 is when they should all understand and accept the maturity and responsibilities of adulthood.  Once they graduate high school, the world makes the big proclamation….

…Da Ta Da Daaaaaaaaaa!….

You Are An Adult NOW!!!!

Then, we send them off and expect them to suddenly do the things “adults” do?

They “suddenly” get up on time, clean their room, read their bible, go to college, make good grades, discern between good and bad teaching, flee from wrongful relationships, set goals, get a job, pay taxes, marriage, family, go to church, come back to see us occasionally, and be an overall good citizen.

Huh?  Is someone talking about TODAY’s kids?

Even in the best of Christian homes, there seems to be such the opposite.

Not just your “normal” mistakes or maturity issues, but the recent high school graduates that I know are failing.  Failing to recognize that their family is still an important part of life after high school.  Failing to see that there are more pressing and important things than immediate independence.  Failing to notice that good, healthy relationships are not ones that are found on social networking websites.  Failing to appropriate time to God on a regular basis.  Falling into thinking that a state-of-the-art cell phone with unlimited texting and data packages is a necessity. 

Christian parents all over the world are raising children who end up graduating high school with such little personal maturity that they end up crashing during their first semester of college.  

Colleges all over the world, whether they want to admit it or not, also contribute to the bombardment of failure these kids experience by choosing to ignore their need for continual direction and guidance as they adjust to life after high school.

We all assume that the “kids” are now “adults”.  We all assume that they are ready for such responsibility and we have to cut strings in order to let them make their own decisions.  Rise or fall, they will learn from it, and become the great leaders this world will need for the next generation, right?

 Wrong.

While I will certainly not begin to say that I have all the answers, personal events in the last few years have led me to some parts of the conclusion equation.

One part is that even when we raise our children with all sorts of head knowledge, there is a greater need for heart knowledge.   This is a big piece of “education” that we are all failing at miserably.

All of our lessons, our lectures, our admonition during the first eighteen years of their life reaches a point where it must be practically applied in the world in order to amount to anything.

We cannot expect them to “know” it all without applying it in their daily life.

We tell them, “respect others”, “be responsible”, “live right”, “seek God”, but fail terribly at purposefully finding opportunities for them to practice doing that while they are still under our roof. 

When we fall into the thinking that we have to go along with certain “normal” teenage issues, we begin to shy away from active involvement in our teenager’s lives.  We want to be the “cool” Mom or Dad, or we shrug our shoulders and accept that our sons and daughters don’t want us to hug them in public, or hang out with their friends.

As if in some ignorant state, we say, “they’re teenagers…they don’t want us parents hanging around”.  So we back away, leaving our children to face the world alone.

As they continue the “morph” into young adult years, we convince ourselves that we have to let go.  So we, once again, back away and allow them to face the world alone.

Now I’m not saying that we should still control every aspect of their life, but it seems to me that they still need some direction and guidance from the ones who love them most.  Even when they think they are ready to be on their own, many times they find just the opposite.  Only then, it is at a high cost or perhaps too late for them to abruptly turn back toward home.

What I have learned so far is that parents of young adults just finishing their high school years need to be more involved in their life than ever before.

Allow them freedom to make choices, but gently guide the direction of their decision, and still do whatever it takes to help them choose the appropriate steps down life’s road.

It is a rare young adult who can successfully face the world alone. 

Which leads me to the next post of the series…

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Filed under Children, Family, Family Relationships, God, Life, Parenting, Wisdom

Life’s Work – Is it Working? (Part One)

We have just completed a 12-week study series at church on the family.  Priorities, Discipline, Time Together, Memories, Family Traditions, Family Devotional, Family Vacations, Family Relationships, The Church Family, Worshipping Together, Commitment, and Lasting Values were all topics studied and discussed during this time. 

It. never. fails. Each time we spend time studying one thing, it’s THAT thing that the enemy tries to use against us!  It is has been a ROLLERCOASTER during this family study series at our house!

I believe we have been greatly challenged in each one of these areas during the last twelve weeks.  It has been PAINFULLY REHABILITATING, but isn’t that how God works sometimes?

Just as I enter a whole new phase of life, when two of my four children are now grown,  my thoughts begin to try and find rest that we have done what we could to raise our daughters in a manner pleasing to God.  Teaching them the ways of God, practicing, although not to perfection, the ways of godly parents and giving them the skills, abilities, and opportunities for a successful future. 

We’ve poured ourselves into their lives, disciplining when it was necessary, teaching when they were teachable, loving purposefully and intentionally, equipping them to care for themselves, and offering continuing support and guidance for as long as they want it.

Still, there were good intentions that are unfulfilled. 

Thinking back, I could list many of our failures and shortcomings in the parenting field.  The list would probably be a mile long and then some.   Still, we have tried to make the right decisions and follow what God would want for our family.

Now, as a mother of two grown children, I sit and wonder, “Was it enough?”

Was it enough to wish for them happiness, yet find out that they will experience many heartaches?

Was it enough to point them to the scriptures to handle those difficult times?

Will they really practice what we have taught them for so many years?

Did we model what we were teaching to them enough, so that they will naturally look to God throughout their adult life?

“Do they truly GET IT, God?  When will Your love and protection and guidance be THE thing they MOST crave and look for?  Do I rest on parenting from the past, believing that when they are “old” they will not depart from it?  Or do I continue to admonish and point and guide them toward You still?  If they are adults now, when do I “let go”, as many in the world would say?  How can I cut strings with them when I love them so greatly?”

Sooooooooo many questions!  Whew!  I get teary eyed just articulating my heart right now!

This. Is. A. Tough. Time.

No longer can I force them to say “I’m Sorry” when they hurt each other’s feelings.  No longer can I use chore charts and stickers to teach them the value of responsibility.  No longer can I ground them to their room, or take away their favorite toy. 

Is my job as a mother done?  Is my life’s work over with them?  Are they fruitful, godly daughters striving to build their new life in a way pleasing to Him?

There is just so much to consider.

One thing I have learned for sure is stated on Buddy’s blog,

“The more I learn, the less I know.”

The things I would have bet the girls would be doing or not doing, is many times opposite of my thoughts.  Life lessons I thought were most important at their young age, now seem different in our new perspective.

…and my perspective is changing DAILY.  Little things that may not mean much to them, or even to my husband for that matter, send me into a tailspin of concern.  On the grander scale, some of these things may not be life altering, but to me at this moment in time, panic begins to rise when I think things aren’t right.

It just “should be” the way I envisioned it! (lol):  Grown children, who consider the family as the strongest bond, second to God, who compares to no other; love, forgiveness, productivity and empathy reigning in our household at all times due to the bond of a mature family; collective ministry to others through our family, sharing in like-mindedness and common interests; fun and happiness in abundance; the peace of knowing that our parenting job is completed well.

But then, evaluating all these things remains a matter of perspective.

God didn’t expect families to be perfect.  All our great intentions and dreams and desires as parents were many times missed opportunities.  Children don’t always love and respect the way God intended, either. 

Still…the family is the most important basic social unit God created. 

Within the family, we learn to model the ways of the world or the ways of God.  Every day, our actions as parents, whether purposeful or not, extend to the growth and development of our children. 

When they are grown, we look back and realize how many times we did things WRONG, and no matter how many times we try to convince ourselves otherwise, there’s still the question, “Did I do enough?”

Over the next few posts, I intend to articulate some thoughts on parenting.  Some will be based on our personal experiences.  Some will be based on other new and old concepts/ideas surfacing within the Christian realm.

Prayerfully, God will guide these posts and the discussions from it to strengthen us all in our parenting endeavors, …

…because no longer can I say “Two Down, two to go”.  What I believe I am learning is that my job is still not done.

 

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Filed under Bible, Children, Family, Family Relationships, God, Grace, Homeschool, Life, Love, Parenting, Trials, Wisdom

Thankful Thursday

For the large AND the small, today I am thankful for:

  1. A husband who loves me despite me.
  2. God, who sustains & reminds me that “it’s all worth it”.
  3. Continual “I love you Mommy”s from my youngest son.
  4. The meatloaf my daughter made this week, her first “real” meal!
  5. The same daughter’s willingness to babysit while I took a girl’s day out with some friends.
  6. Olive Garden bread sticks 😉
  7. Recent “I love you’s” from the eldest daughter.
  8. The ability to homeschool away from home.
  9. My husband’s job and financial provision.
  10. Friends who come to my rescue in chaotic times.
  11. A few days of peace and quiet.
  12. The opportunity for the boys to play outside.
  13. A godly boyfriend for my daughter, and how he really takes good care of her.
  14. Today’s divine and unexplained contact with a long lost sister.
  15. Renewed contact and lunch with my grandmother.
  16. Boys who adore their great-grandmother, despite only seeing her approximately 10-15 times in their whole life.
  17. Hope for renewal in our extended family relationships. 
  18. A tax refund, instead of a tax payment.
  19. Warm and snuggly hugs from my eldest son.
  20. Knowing that spring is just around the corner. 

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Filed under Blessings, Children, Family, Family Relationships, Friends, Gifts, God, Life, Thankful Thursday, Thanks

Not Me! Monday (On Wednesday)

 

 

Following Leslie’s lead, this is “Not Me! Monday” — (the Wednesday version).

I’ve NOT done this before, so here goes:

I have NOT just gone through a really crazy few days.  Certainly NOT brought on by what “Dr. Google” says might be PMDD, or NOT EVEN for the fact that I’m now officially over 40, but could instead be the release of mega amounts of hormones trying to get those 40+ year old eggs to ovulate once a month.   Which, by the way, the eggs are saying “NOT!” to the hormones, and it is NOT causing a ridiculous response making me NOT the sweet, pleasant wife and mother I am NOT usually, but rather the “Monster Mommy” version that did NOT attack EACH AND EVERY MEMBER OF MY FAMILY this week!

I did NOT dwell on feelings of worthlessness, despair, and would NEVER think that EACH AND EVERY MEMBER OF MY FAMILY does not love me anymore!

I did NOT spend 3 hours at the computer searching to find out what was going on with me.

I did NOT relish the thought of NOT paying a $35 copay to consult with a real doctor while comparing my symptoms to millions of other internet users.

And I did NOT come up with my own diagnosis.

This post (journaling during times of distress) is NOT a means of dealing with my newfound disorder as recommended by Dr. Google.

I will NOT consider starting calcium supplements as also recommended by Dr. Google.

Worst of all, during this time, I did NOT seek the scriptures for comfort 😦

Until today, I did NOT apologize to the family.  (I’m NOT VERY, VERY SORRY)

I can’t believe that I did NOT make my husband wonder why he ever married me.

I certainly hope that my family will NOT continue loving me, NOT forgive my horrible reaction, and NOT try to understand that I am vulnerable between the 8th and 11th of every month. 

Most likely, I will NOT EVER be this way again!?

I also did NOT join a weightloss support group this week while sitting here and NOT eating a chocolate pop-tart and hot chocolate for breakfast!

Chocolate does NOT make me feel better ….  Ok, well that was stretching it a bit…

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Filed under Attitude, Bible, Children, Family, Family Relationships, God, Humor, Not Me! Monday

I’ve Been Blogjacked.

Ok.  Apparently, SOMEONE (Kenya) has stolen my password and hijacked my blog while I was away.  I come home tonight after a night out with the girls, and find that I’ve received all kinds of comments on a new post that was done while I was away??!!!!!

For the OFFICIAL RECORD, the post entitled, “Apology and Sincere Regret” was NOT authored by me!

My wayward eldest daughter has decided to increase her sin load and write, posing as me.  It is unbelievable what some people will do these days to mask their sin!!!  At least I make it known when I “borrow someone else’s password to make a post.

My sin is still smaller than hers. 😉

I’m sorry you all had to be unknowing participants in her rebellion.  I think I’ll go have another M&M.

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Filed under Attitude, Blogging, Children, Family, Family Relationships, Humor, Terrorism